Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 9, 2016

Blast from the past: leash laws and dog bites

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Apparently in 1956 the City Council meetings were no well attended than they are today and was remarked by a City Councilmember during a particularly contentious issue.

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 6.33.01 AM

The issue?  Dog leashes.

Not only did a whole bunch of people not want to have to leash their dogs when off their own property, they also objected to mandatory rabies vaccinations.  There were, based on the list of public speakers, and equal number of speakers both for and against.

The rationale for the leash laws and mandatory rabies vaccinations were, natch, to control transmission of rabies to humans:

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 6.39.48 AM

And even though dog bite incidents remained quite stead in the preceding years, it didn’t take long for, I believe it is the City Manager, to blame all the dog bite and rabies problem on the poors in the Estuary Housing project, noting that the problem will lessen given the “removal” of the housing projects:

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 7.59.07 PM

However a search of “rabies” in the City Council meeting archives show that the topic was regularly revisited even after the housing projects had been removed and later it was suggested that the rabies problem might have been due to the large number of skunks in the city.



  1. It is an interesting article considering we still have a dogbite problem, as read in the blotter section of the local papers. It seems like your point is that the “bad” City Council person was blaming the poor unjustly.

    Are you attempting to make a connection with present times?

    Comment by Hugo — August 9, 2016 @ 7:39 am

  2. myself I don’t see a connection being made to present times. Being 13 at the time and living in the West End of Alameda I was just beginning to see the racism of those times. Standing in line at Fosters Freeze I can still remember it very well, A white woman employee of Fosters telling a black kid that we were with to go to the end of the line because he question a white adult stepping in front of him to order something. That has stuck in my memory to this day. No I don’t think that our city is anywhere near what it was then, and I also understand very well how far things have come. So for me to see these things revisited isn’t about saying somehow we are bad people, its just our history and we only need to remember it.

    Comment by John P. — August 9, 2016 @ 11:12 am

  3. A Mr. Lee Erwin, who made the racist remarks, according to the document, was the Poundmaster…which I don’t think was the same as the city manager. From his other remarks, Mr. Erwin didn’t sound very knowledgeable about dogs, either.

    Comment by vigi — August 9, 2016 @ 6:33 pm

  4. I take it for granted that all readers know: the pound is what we now call the animal shelter; rabies is 100% fatal to both dogs and humans; not all dog bites transmit rabies; and if there had been any bona fide cases of human rabies in Alameda, those might also be mentioned in these Archives.

    Comment by vigi — August 9, 2016 @ 6:36 pm

  5. Sorry I missed it, exactly where are the racist remarks? The projects housed people of many hues, including my wife’s forebears, as does the city now house people of many hues.

    And, there are still a lot of skunks in the city seeking to spray stink.

    Comment by jack — August 9, 2016 @ 6:45 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at